20:26:39 local time CHINA
* Yaks for haute couture:
She is a social entrepreneur who wanted to do something to improve the lot of her father’s people. The answer was always right under the noses of the nomadic Tibetans, as she tells Lin Qi.
For generations, the villagers of Zorge Ritoma on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau had depended on raising yaks as their major source of income. Overgrazing, however, had gradually desiccated their livelihood as nomads.
Many of the able-bodied among them are abandoning the harsh realities of herding for a more tempting urban life. The village, filled with old people unwilling to leave and their grandchildren, seem doomed to face a bleak future.
* Yaks for haute couture (2):
“We want to make sure that people who collect fibers and turn them into luxury products are local Tibetans,” Yeshi says, “and that the profit would go solely to the villagers — a big challenge for the workshop, but that’s also what sets us apart from other producers.”
Born to a Tibetan father and an American mother, Yeshi majored in Asian studies and film at Connecticut College. Upon graduation, she decided to make a documentary about the land her father came from, with a “very romantic idea” of filming Tibetan lifestyles against a scenic background and promoting Tibetan culture to the world.
* Yaks for haute couture (3):
Kim Yeshi had studied anthropology and Buddhism at university and spent 30 years in Asia researching local culture, with particular interests in textiles and handicrafts.
“People always talk about the cashmere as the precious wool, and camel wool. Although the yak also has wool, it had never been tested,” the mother says.
“I thought it would be compelling to turn the yak wool into a new vision of life for the nomads.”
19:26:39 local time VIET NAM
* Ms. Luu maintains garment workshop in village:
Luu has not only concerned about seeking employment for the laborers but also paid much attention to helping them work in favorable conditions.
The export garment workshop of Hai Duong Affection Garment Co., Ltd. (Dun hamlet, Nam Hong commune, Nam Sach) whose director is Nguyen Thi Luu came into operation in July 2011.
Initially, the factory faced many difficulties due to lack of orders. Many enterprises refused cooperation because they did not believe in a small workshop with unsecured capability of meeting technical requirements of exports. Thus, she had to personally come to garment enterprises to introduce and sign contracts to process goods.
Thanks to her activity and dynamism, Luu entered into a processing contract with Garment I JSC. The workshop at first had five workers, but the order only helped them have work in a few months. Therefore, Luu continued to come to other enterprises to ask for processing orders.
19:26:39 local time THAILAND
* Forum urged tax and policy revamp for sustainable growth:
At yesterday’s Seventh ThaiPublica Forum under the topic “The Thai Economy and a Long Sustainable Growth
Somchai Jitsuchon from the Thailand Development Research Institute, told the forum that tax and policy reform is the key to sustainable growth and blamed the Finance Ministry for failing to reduce economic inequality.
The ministry’s tax policy has contributed to the increase in economic inequality and its distribution system largely ignores poor people who really need help. The Gini coefficient score of Thailand has gone up in recent years and is a clear indication that the ministry has failed to reduce and has even contributed to the increase in income inequality in this country, he said.
“The government is giving away too much of its budget to the people who don’t really need it,” he said. There are three groups that truly need financial help but are largely ignored by the government – mothers in poor communities, minimum wage workers and seniors.
The government has to help mothers in lower opportunity communities because the first five years of her child’s life is the most important period of youth development. The government should provide funds to support child education and healthcare while building more and better quality public child centres, which would allow stay-at-home moms to go out and look for extra income to help support their households while knowing that their children are well taken care of by a trained carer.
Minimum wage and low-income workers should receive extra benefits from the government to reduce their financial burden. The elderly and retirees should also receive further financial help from the government through exceptions in public services because of the higher cost of living. Ekniti Nitithanprapas, deputy director-general of the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office, said there are four policies that should be implemented to achieve equally distributed and sustainable economic growth.
19:26:39 local time CAMBODIA
* Government to Meet Over January Minimum Wage Increase:
The current government-mandated minimum wage of $80 a month for garment factory workers will be increased in January 2014, though the amount it will be raised by has not been determined, a Labor Ministry official said Monday.
Prak Chanthoeun, director-general of the Labor Ministry’s labor conflict committee, said Monday that there will be a meeting on Wednesday between the government, factory owners, and unions to discuss the imminent wage increase.
“Even though we cannot say how much the wage would be raised, the government policy is that they will raise the wage in January 2014,” Mr. Chanthoeun said. “We need to discuss thoroughly, because we are afraid when we raise the wage for the workers the raised wage will affect the market prices.”
Garment exports in the first 10 months of 2013 have soared to more than $4.7 billion, a 23 percent year-on-year increase. But the sector is experiencing more frequent strikes than ever before, with the Garment Manufacturers’ Association in Cambodia (GMAC) recording 83 strikes during the first seven months of this year, most of which have involved demands for higher wages and more benefits.
The government raised the monthly minimum wage to $80 a month in May in the midst of a heated national election campaign in which the opposition CNRP pledged to raise the wage to $150 if they won the July 28 poll. After the ruling CPP suffered major losses in the election, the government promised in September to revisit the issue of garment sector wages.
* Labor Ministry says brands hold key to wages:
* Cambodian Unions Call for Doubling of Minimum Wage for Factory Workers:
Four trade unions on Tuesday demanded that Cambodia’s garment and footwear manufacturers raise the minimum wage of their workers and provide them with additional benefits, threatening a nationwide strike and demonstrations if they do not comply.
In a joint letter to the Van Sou Ieng, president of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), an employers’ organization, the unions called for nearly double the U.S. $80 per month minimum wage announced by the government in March, and which took effect two months later.
“We are demanding an increase in the minimum wage to U.S. $154 [per month], as well as six additional workers’ benefits,” said the letter, which was signed by the unions, including the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC).
The government has indicated that it would allow an increase in the minimum wage, but didn’t say by how much.
“Even though we cannot say how much the wage would be raised, the government policy is that they will raise the wage in January 2014,” the Cambodia Daily quoted Prak Chanthoeun, director-general of the Labor Ministry’s labor conflict committee, as saying.
* H&M pledges living wage pay for Cambodia and Bangladesh workers:
Swedish clothing company H&M has pledged to pay a living wage to its garment workers in Cambodia and Bangladesh, according to the Wall Street Journal.
They will work with factory owners and adopt the fair living wage program next year at one factory in Cambodia and two in Bangladesh, and then will expand to cover the other 750 factories that supply its clothes by 2018.
* No consensus on next move in SL drama:
After the management of an embattled garment factory this week refused to follow a government order to reinstate 19 dismissed union leaders and activists, unionists and observers are at a divergence of opinion over how the state should respond.
“It’s fairly unprecedented,” Dave Welsh, country director for labour rights group Solidarity Center, said. “The government has sort of gone out on a limb.”
Three days after a deadly November 12 garment worker riot in the capital, during which a bystander was killed by a police bullet, the Ministry of Labour sent an order to SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd dictating that it rehire the workers within 15 days.
But in labour disputes, court proceedings have often proved a futile effort for unions, as judges disproportionately favour management, Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, said.
If the Labour Ministry is serious about ending the strike, Tola said, it should suspend SL’s exporting licence, a move that would cripple the company – which supplies to Sweden-based H&M and US-based Gap Inc – possibly forcing it to submit to the ministry’s order.
Kong Athit, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU), which represents a large majority of SL employees – including the 19 in question – agrees that suspending SL’s exporting licence would prove counterproductive. But in his experience, Cambodian courts are ill-equipped in handling labour disputes.
In previous labour cases, courts have taken years to come to a decision, and even when it ruled in the union’s favour, did not enforce the verdict, Athit said.
“I think if they bring it to court it will be a big disaster; this case is very complicated, and the court in Cambodia is not specialised in labour.”
* Impunity of trade unions ought to be mentioned more often :
* Court Refuses to Investigate Complaint Over Police Shooting:
A student who filed a complaint to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court against the city’s municipal and military police chiefs over the fatal police shooting at the SL Garment Factory protest on November 12 said Tuesday that the court has refused to investigate his complaint.
Neang Sokhun, a 25-year-old law student, said a court official had told him that his complaint, which concerns the shooting death by police of 49-year-old street food vendor Eng Sokhom, had been sent instead to the National Police for investigation.
“The court seemed to ignore my case and not take it seriously. They said they sent the case to the National Police and that they will wait for the police to investigate first,” said Mr. Sokhun, who is also a member of the opposition CNRP’s youth organization.
* IndustriALL remembers comrades killed at work:
On this 25 November, the International Day to Combat Violence against Women, IndustriALL pays tribute to those women who have been killed and harassed at work in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Morocco, Cambodia and Bangladesh. The women killed protesting for their rights in Cambodia stand for the many others who were sacrificed for their rights.
On 12 November 2013 protesters clashed with police in Phnom Penh as hundreds of workers from the Singaporean owned SL Garment Processing Factory marched toward the home of the Prime Minister to demand better working conditions.
SL Garment supplies brands such as Gap and H&M. This was the latest in a series of outbreaks of worker unrest at factories that produce for European and North American brands. The union, the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, organized the march and said that violence broke out when police tried to stop over a thousand workers from protesting.
Hundreds of riot police were armed with batons and shields and roamed the streets which were littered with rocks and tear gas canisters after the protesters were dispersed. Police rounded up more than a dozen people, including several monks. Officers beat protesters up and left several bleeding.
SL workers have been demonstrating for weeks in a dispute with employers that includes claims of intimidation over the use of military police in factory inspections. Two women have died in two months in violent protests in Cambodia.
* BetterFactories Media updates 23-27 November 2013, Labor Ministry says brands hold key to wages:
* To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2013-11-26 Food price hike hits workers
2013-11-26 Garment factory rejects order to rehire 19 workers
2013-11-26 Proof of origin no longer required
2013-11-27 No consensus on next move in SL drama
* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2013-11-25 Bangladesh makes exceptional health progress despite poverty
2013-11-25 Garment worker truck crash kills 1, injures 15
2013-11-26 Commerce minister announces new system for exports
2013-11-26 Government to meet over January minimum wage increase
2013-11-26 H&M aims to pay all textile workers’ living wage’ by 2018
2013-11-26 SL factory refuses to reinstate fired union representatives
2013-11-27 Impunity of trade unions ought to be mentioned more often
2013-11-27 Labor Ministry says brands hold key to wages
* To read in the printed edition of the Koh Santepheap Daily (Khmer):
2013-11-27 Unions demand US$150, Ministry meeting to talk about minimum wage
* To read in the printed edition of the Rasmei Kampuchea Daily (Khmer):
2013-11-27 Workers stop working due to factory building’s shake
BetterFactories Media Updates overview here.
20:26:39 local time MALAYSIA
* Labour Market Reform A Must, Says MIER:
Labour market reform is a must, said the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER), which sees the implementation of minimum wage as a driver to reduce household debt.
Its Executive Director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid said households contribute a substantial share of domestic demand.
“They were asked to work hard and they have been contributing quite well, but they are saddled with debts. For us, labour market reform is a must when moving towards a salary level linked to productivity.
20:26:39 local time INDONESIA
* Workers to rally again on Thursday:
Workers will hold another two-day rally – set to take place from Thursday to Friday – to demand a raise in the provincial minimum wage (UMP).
“The rally will be conducted because we think the current minimum wage does not make sense,” Indonesian Workers Union Confederation (KSPI) secretary general Muhammad Rusdi said as quoted by kontan.co.id on Monday.
Rusdi said the UMP, which had been set at Rp 2.2 million (US$187.6) per month for Jakarta, remained one of the lowest in Southeast Asia.
Workers in Thailand received at least Rp 2.8 million per month while in the Philippines, workers received Rp 3.2 million, he said, citing examples.
18:26:39 local time BANGLADESH
* As wages rise, so do rents:
As soon as the minimum wage of garment workers was increased, the house owners had raised rents to an amount more than the increased allowance.
As per the new wage structure, Shahena Parveen’s house rent allowance would increase by less than Tk500, but her house owner has already announced to increase rent by Tk1,000.
Shahena Parveen is a worker at an apparel factory of IDS Group in Dhaka. Like her, the country’s around four millions of garment workers was just aspiring to live a better life after the wage hike. But their hopes did not last long as the house lords had appeared to ask them pay more from January.
“Now, I have no other way but to leave the house,” said Shahena Parveen living in a Mirpur tin-shed room with her ailing mother and school-going younger brother.
When interviewed a good number of workers in Gazipur, Savar, Mirpur and Farmgate areas, they told the Dhaka Tribune that the new rent hike has put them in an uneasy situation again.
The workers urged the authorities including BGMEA to take steps so that the house owners do not raise rents.
* Garments training solve unemployment stressed:
Speakers in a function here on Monday stressed the need for conducting training on garments among the unemployed youths to solve their unemployment problems to help build a poverty and hunger free country.
“In this context, the educated and half educated youths including young women of the society should come forward with the mentality to receive the trainings cordially and successfully to engage in income generating activities to change their lots economically and living standard socially “, they said.
They made the comments while addressing a certificate distribution ceremony for the trainees who received 22-day training on oven machine operating at the training centre of a non-government organisation Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK) at
Nashratpur under Sadar upazila in the district.
read more. & read more. & read more.
* RMG workers unrest in Gazipur:
Angry readymade garments worker protested and ransacked the factories at Kashimpur and Nayapara area in Gazipur and set fire to two vehicles of a factory on Tuesday.
Inspector Nasrul Islam of Gazipur industrial police, said the workers of Multifabs Limited in the area started demonstration demanding uniformity in the wages of operators and helpers with the wages in other factories and also demanded increased wages. At one stage they came out from the factory.
Later the workers of adjacent Mitali Fashions, Moontex Limited and Alim Knitwear Limited joined them in the demonstration.
* Fallout of unrest over RMG minimum wage:
Recent incidents like fire in the Tazreen Fashions, the Rana Plaza collapse and suspension of GSP facilities in the US market have rendered exports of apparel from Bangladesh more challenging than before.
After all these events, several market analysts foresaw that growth of our RMG exports might suffer. But recent data have belied the forecast and indicated that the RMG export growth actually picked up.
After the unpleasant incidents, garments workers’ demonstrations for realising demand for wage hike have received a new pace. The Bangladesh Garment Manufac-
turers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) along with the Wage Board tried to re-fix the minimum wage of the workers.
* RMG awaits setback in summer orders:
Buyers unwilling to visit Dhaka to close deals due to ongoing political unrest
The readymade garment industry is exposed to risks of losing orders as the buyers are staying away from visiting the country due to the ongoing political unrest, including frequent hartals, vandalism and arson.
The orders particularly for the summer season, one of the major seasons for the apparel exporters, would face a setback as apprehended by the manufacturers and exporters.
“It’s the high time for placing orders,” Salim Osman, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) told Dhaka tribune. “If we fail to grab orders now for lack of security for the buyers, we would lose orders for the next season.”
read more. & read more.
* RMG loses 100 crore taka every day due to gas crisis:
The serious gas crisis in Chittagong is causing the RMG sector to lose Tk 100 crore everyday with the disruption in production leading to higher costs.
Businesses are losing foreign contracts, and highly expensive capital machinery are sitting idle while owners are almost going bankrupt trying to pay the interest on loans.
The scarcity in gas supply has resulted from the lack of necessary initiatives despite gas supply in the port city not even increasing by 1mmcf in the past few years.
* H&M to support RMG factories to improve work condition:
Hennes & Mauritz, the world’s second largest clothing retailer, laid out a plan on Monday to pay a fair “living wage” to some 850,000 textile workers by 2018, saying governments were acting too slowly.
“We believe that the wage development, driven by for example governments in some countries, is taking too long, so we want to take further action and encourage the whole industry to follow,”
read more. & read more.
* Ticfa to help improve workers’ safety, rights: USTR:
The Ticfa agreement between the United States and Bangladesh would help finding solutions to improve Bangladeshi workers’ safety and their rights, US Trade Representative Michael Froman hoped.
“With this agreement, the US and Bangladesh will more regularly work together to address issues of concern in our trade and investment relationship,” Froman, who presided over the signing of the US-Bangladesh Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa), said.
“Importantly, we’ll also be able to track and discuss Bangladeshi efforts to improve worker safety and worker rights. This is an important priority for the United States as Bangladesh seeks to prevent more tragedies in its ready-made garment sector,” he said after signing of the treaty in Washington.
read more. & read more. & read more. & read more.
* Ticfa simple, harmless deal: GM Quader:
The Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (Ticfa), signed between Dhaka and Washington, is a very simple, innocent and harmless deal, said Commerce Minister GM Quader here on Tuesday.
“I haven’t found anything negative in the deal. It has been signed protecting country’s interest but not considering political interest. It’s a very simple, innocent and harmless deal,” he told reporters at a press conference at the Secretariat.
read more. & read more.
* Ticfa has no relation with GSP: GM Quader:
Commerce Minister G M Quader today said that Ticfa signing has no relationship with regaining the GSP status to the US market, although from now Bangladesh will be able to raise the issue in the forum meeting.
“In fact we have already raised the GSP regaining issue to the forum while signing the agreement and it will be broadly discussed in the first forum meeting in Dhaka in next January,” the minister added.
* Minister defends TICFA signing:
Commerce Minister GM Quader Tuesday backed the signing of the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) with the USA, and ruled out any possibility of US domination of Bangladesh’s trade.
He said the main purpose of the deal was to further expand Bangladesh’s trade and investment.
“There is no scope that the US will control our business, because of signing of the deal. We are not that much unequipped,” the minister said addressing a press conference at the ministry’s conference room Tuesday, a day after signing of the bilateral trade agreement in Washington DC.
* TICFA signing should benefit Bangladesh:
In Bangladesh, we have found most of our policy-planners or decision-makers downplaying issues like SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement), HANA (Humanitarian Assistance Need Assessment), TIFA (Trade and Investment Frame work Agreement) or the latest “TICFA” (Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement) whenever those came under discussion.
We have always seen our political seniors pretending to be “not sure” or “not prepared” or saying in public: “we need to explore or study more” on those issues. Hence, while the TICFA was signed between the USA and Bangladesh on November 25, one would have reasons to assume that proper due diligence has been done by Bangladesh. The USA was anyway pushing for this since long.
* The significance of TICFA for BD:
At 10 in the morning USA Eastern Standard Time Monday Bangladesh and the USA executed the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement (TICFA) after nearly 12 years of wrangling.
In the intervening period and even after the signing of the agreement we have expert after expert writing columns in newspapers or preaching on television talk-shows on how harmful or how wonderful it will be for Bangladesh!
So what is all the fuss about? The title of the agreement is a dead give-away. It clearly states that it is an agreement for a cooperation forum on trade and investment — nothing more, nothing less. The USA has similar forums with 92 other countries and/or regional trade organizations according to a report in the Financial Express yesterday. It basically means that Bangladesh now has an open invitation from the largest economy in the world and the second largest importer of goods from Bangladesh at the trade negotiation table at least once a year.
That is certainly a welcome provision, especially since Bangladesh lacks economic and organizational muscle to force trade issues through the WTO forums. However, we must keep in mind that this invitation is available to 92 other countries and regional trade bodies as well. If we are to make anything of this arrangement then we must develop our capacity to negotiate trade issues effectively.
* TICFA at long last:
The much talked-about Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA) between Bangladesh and the United States has finally been signed.
Despite the cabinet’s nod in June this year for a go-ahead to ink the deal, there were snags that critics thought might halt the process on account of disquieting developments on the country’s political front. Now that the deal is done with, it broadly reflects two things: US’s interest to deepen its engagement with Bangladesh under a structured framework, and Bangladesh’s intent to seek a regular annual forum to discuss bilateral trade and economic issues with the US, the country’s single largest export destination.
* BGMEA expects US to restore GSP status:
BGMEA expects GSP restoration. The optimism follows their meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Atiqul Islam said in Dhaka on Monday: “We’ve had a good meeting with her. We’re hopeful of getting good news about the GSP.”
He said Biswal had welcomed the hike in minimum wage of ready-made garment factory workers. Atiqul said both sides agreed to work together for Bangladesh’s development.
* Leather sector stares into uncertain future:
The country’s leather sector has no credible reason to remain at ease because of the concerns it has been causing to those who hold the major stakes for its survival – the government included.
Hazardous working conditions in the RMG factories have already taken their toll. Things are quite unsettled as the sector is going through what may be called a phase of transition, and until the prevailing snags are removed and working conditions including workers’ rights are visibly improved, prospects may not be rosy at all.
Given the scenario in the RMG sector, there are threats for the leather sector that might be more damaging, as export of leather and leather goods from Bangladesh is largely facilitated by the European Union (EU) GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) scheme.
* Sale of warm clothes on rise at makeshift shops:
Early Winter Grips N Districts
With the winter already set in, the northern districts see boost in the sale of warm clothes and blankets, especially at makeshift shops in different northern districts.
A good number of buyers, especially those belonging to low and fixed income groups, are crowding the makeshift shops in Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts to buy warm clothes as this season sees early arrival of winter, reports our Thakurgaon correspondent.
Taking the advantage of huge demand of second-hand winter clothes including woollen sweaters, jackets, cardigans, trousers, mufflers and gloves and kids wear, makeshift shop owners and roadside vendors are charging high prices, buyers alleged.
Depending on size, quality and attractiveness, the prices of a single blanket (made of cut pieces of garment factories) vary from Tk 150 to 300, that of a second hand sweater between Tk 150 and 300, and a jacket between Tk 300 to Tk 1200.
Usually the winter comes late November or early December but from last year these northern districts witness cold weather from the first week of November.
“I have come to buy a woollen sweater or a jacket for my daughter but the shopkeepers are demanding high prices,” rickshaw puller Fazlu said during this correspondent’s visit to a makeshift warm-cloth’s market on Thakurgaon Government Boys High School ground on Thursday.
“As the winter arrived early I have come here to buy some second-hand warm clothes for my family members,” said Shafiqul Islam, a forth class employee of Abdur Rashid Degree College at Farabari village under Thakurgaon Sadar upazila.
ASHULIA TAZREEN GARMENT FACTORY FIRE
* One-year anniversary – injured workers and family members of dead workers of Tazreen form human chain:
Marking the anniversary of the tragic Tazreen fire, the IndustriALL Global Union Bangladesh Council (IBC) organized a human chain and a workers’ rally to voice urgent demands for compensation and a safe workplace.
On 23 November, IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC) organized a human chain and a workers rally to mark the anniversary of the Tazreen Tragedy.
Four organizations of the IBC (TG) group took part with their members in the Human Chain in front of the National Press Club.
The Bangladesh Textile & Garment Workers League (BTGWL), led by Brother Kamrul Anam, the United Federation of Garment Workers (UFGW), led by Brother Roy Ramesh, the National Federation of Garment Workers (NGWF), led by Brother. Amirul Haque Amin, and the Bangladesh Garments, Textile and Leather Workers Federation (BGTLWF) led by Brother. Kutub Uddin, participated.
The human chain and workers rally was presided over by the General Secretary of the IBC, Roy Ramesh Chandra, who, along with Brother. Anam, Brother. Amin, Brother Kutub Uddin, Brother. Nurul Islam, spoke of the outrage that victims are still waiting for compensation. Twelve months after the fire, brands have yet to take responsibility for the plight of survivors and families of the deceased.
The IBC demands that:
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE
* Rana Plaza Compensation amount proposed to be slashed – ignorance and delay continue:
Garment factory owners are trying hard to slash the compensation money for the families of the Rana Plaza victims far below the amount proposed by a high-powered committee appointed by the High Court just after the disaster that left at least 1135 dead and thousands more critically wounded, some of whom are permanently disabled.
This committee later formed two sub-committees to fix the compensation rates and categories of the injured.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) representatives, on 07 November 2013, proposed BDT0.7 million for each of the dead victims families to be fixed while the committee recommended BDT1.95 million.
On 21 November 2013, the members of the committee sat again when the BGMEA placed its proposal to slash down the the compensation amount to BDT0.7 million for family of each deceased and BDT0.1 million for each injured worker. The BGMEA in its proposal said compensation should be fixed according to the labor law and owners capability and reality of the situation must also be brought into consideration.
“It would be impossible for many of the owners to give such a huge amount and it will discourage the entrepreneurs,” said the representatives of the BGMEA in an effort to justify their proposal.
According to sections of 19 and 151 of the labor law 2006 (amendment 2013), the owner will give Tk 0.1 million as compensation to each of the deceased families, TK 0.125 million for the permanently disabled worker or each of the workers who lost one limb. All this, if the owner of Rana Plaza is responsible for the collapse for violating the construction law and using low quality construction materials.
17:56:39 local time INDIA
* CITU gears up for series of stirs:
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions(CITU) will hold a series of stirs from December 2 to 18 to press for a fair deal for workers both in the organised and unorganised sectors.
CITU city committee president D.Srinvasulu and secretary B.Venkat Rao told reporters that workers both in the organised and unorganised sectors were suffering because of the ‘anti-labour policies’ of the Union and State governments. The Labour department was turning a blind eye to violation of labour laws by private units, they charged.
“We will hold a survey to bring together the working class for a massive stir to press for hike in pay and social security benefits, including prompt transfer of PF cuttings”, they added.
* Windfall for Nalgonda labourers:
Cotton ryots forced to pay them higher wages owing to rain
With the monsoon in full swing in the past one month in Nalgonda district owing to three cyclonic storms, coupled with the existing labour shortage in agriculture sector, the labourers in the villages are almost minting money by attending to work in cotton fields for picking cotton.
The farmers are paying more than 50 per cent of their income on each quintal of cotton production to labourers; as a result, the latter are earning about Rs.1,000 per day.
Since October 20, the district experienced incessant rains in October and November because of the cyclone Phailin and cyclone Helen. As the sky remained cloudy with rain almost everyday, the worried cotton farmers were forced to seek assistance of labourers to save their crop.
Earlier, they used to pay Rs.8 on picking of a kg of cotton and the labourer used to pick, on an average, 70 kg everyday. But now, the cost on labour on each kg has risen to Rs.14 and thus the daily income of the labourer who picks more than 70 kg has spiralled to Rs.1,000.
17:56:39 local time SRI LANKA
* IndustriAll Sri Lanka Council demands immediate reinstatement and withdraw of charges:
As the strike at Ansell continues, IndustriALL Sri Lanka Council shows support and demands that management immediately take action to stop the strike.
On 25 November, representatives of IndustriALL Global Union’s Sri Lanka affiliates, along with IndustriALL’s Regional Secretary Sudhershan Rao Sarde and project coordinator, Shahnaz Rafique, addressed the striking workers of Ansell Lanka, near the gate of Ansell Lanka, Biyagama EPZ.
Anton Marcus, president of the FTZ&GSEU and member of IndustriALL’s Executive Committee, reiterated the demands of the union to immediately reinstate eleven branch union office bearers and the withdrawal of all fabricated charges against them.
17:26:39 local time PAKISTAN
* Load-shedding: Industry laments three-month gas curtailment plan:
The textile industry is up in arms over the upcoming three-month gas supply cut that will force some factories – without power generation capacity – to close down.
Industrialists have been concerned over the power cuts at the advent of the holiday season, which usually sees a spike in export orders.
Severe shortage of gas would plunge the textile exports into disaster, said Mahmood, adding that it is likely to impact over 450 industrial units and millions of workers to result in ‘industrial unrest’.
He called on the government to ensure adequate gas supply for the textile industry, arguing that a textile mill can only function viably if it remains operational round the clock throughout the year.
* Three-month gas supply disruption: textile industry sounds alarm bell of massive closure:
Textile industry have sounded alarm bell of massive closure of industries in Faisalabad as a result of upcoming disruption of gas supply for three months.
The act is termed as a deliberate attempt to close down the industries in the country. Industry will not only suffer but also the government would be the loser on many counts.
* APTMA assured of maximum gas supply in winter:
Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has assured the APTMA leadership of maximum gas supply to the textile industry in Punjab during winter.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also shown concern and I am very much hopeful that gas supply to the textile industry during December will remain intact,” he said.
* APTMA asks India to remove NTBs:
India should withdraw the non-tariff barriers (NTBs) imposed on Pakistan in order to excel the rate of regional trade between the two countries, said All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Yasin Siddik.
Speaking while welcoming the 15-member delegation of Indian journalists led by Mumbai Press Club President Gurbir Singh, Siddik said that Pakistan’s business community has welcomed the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to be granted to India and highlighted that the non-tariff barriers created by Delhi will hinder the smooth flow of trade between the two countries.
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* International textile and clothing conference:
Punjab government and Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) is organising an International Textile and Clothing Conference (ITC) Pakistan with the theme ‘Pakistan’s Industry – Integrated and Collaborating for Today and Tomorrow’.
The conference will be addressed by prominent speakers from around the world and Pakistan. The ITC would be a unique initiative for promoting and empowering textile and clothing sector of Pakistan. It aims at establishing universally recognised performance benchmarks in the Pakistani textile sector as well as providing a networking forum for various stakeholders in the industry. ITC 2013 will provide a unique opportunity to investors, suppliers and students to benefit from the expertise of the best minds in the industry. The conference would be held on December 9 in Lahore.
* GSP Plus-will other sectors please stand up?:
By now, everyone and their great grand aunt have an opinion about how the conferral of the GSP Plus status will impact the countrys textile industry.
But, very little attention is being paid to the step children-the export categories relegated to the backburner because they aren shiny enough to attract the attention of the magpies.
Admittedly, it has been the textile exporters who have been making the most noise.
And make no mistake; this is the sector that earns Pakistan the most number of dollars, and will reap the biggest bounty once the act is passed in December.
But, some of our non-traditional export categories have also been slowly gaining traction and will find a world of opportunity once the trade agreement is worked out.
17:26:39 local time UZBEKISTAN
* China to invest $80 million in textile industry of Andijan region:
Chinese Henan Sine in 2014-2016 will invest $80 million in the textile industry of Andijan region, the company acquired part of the assets of bankrupt Bobur JSC, representative of the State Joint Stock Company Uzbeklegprom said.
In the first phase (2014) the investor will create capacity for production of cotton yarn in the amount of 10,000 tons per year, the second phase (2015-2016) – production of 36 million meters of cotton fabric annually.
About 80% of production will be exported, the company said.
JSC Bobur was commissioned in 1982 and is one of the largest textile companies in Fergana region. Design capacity – 10,000 tons of cotton yarn and 50 million meters of cotton fabric annually. In 2007 the company was declared bankrupt and put up for sale in October.
In 2009, Turkish Mimatas Tekstil acquired assets of Bobur with the stated investment of $75 million. However, in early 2011 the company was declared bankrupt again.